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Politics Nation

News/Business. The Rev. Al Sharpton discusses the day's important political and human interest stories. New.

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Us 10, California 7, Boehner 6, Solis 6, Gabrielle 5, United States 4, Gabby Douglas 4, John Boehner 4, Washington 3, America 3, London 3, Iowa 3, E.j. Dionne 2, Jonathan Capehart 2, Bob 2, Jonathan 2, Obama 2, Msnbc 2, E.j. 2, Canada 2,
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  MSNBC    Politics Nation    News/Business. The Rev. Al Sharpton discusses the  
   day's important political and human interest stories. New.  

    December 7, 2012
    3:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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earth where people of the same sex can marry? will it? some day, i would say. why? for a very american reason? freedom, liberalism usually wins out. it can take some time. the important rights do take time. time for the right to settle into the country's conscience. it took time for be a bol ligs of slavery and honest reflection out of which comes a freer, more liberal america. that's the way it's been and here i think the way it will be. so keep the faith. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. we begin tonight with breaking news for the first time the supreme court will take up the issue of guy marriage. it's a major step into the one
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of the key civil rights issues of our time. the court announced today it will rule whether a federal law denying benefits to same-sex spouses is unconstitutional. >> the defense of marriage act, defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. the court also announced it will decide where the california's proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, is constitutional. voters in california passed prop 8 four years ago but since then two courts have said it is unconstitutional. american's views on this issue have shifted rapidly, to where the majority of americans now support same-sex marriage. the cases will be heard in march. a ruling is expected in june. these decisions will have you
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judge for fairness in this country. one reporter described this case as the roe versus wade of gay rights. we have three special guests tonight. joining me now is richard, a former white house advicer to former president clinton and equality matters, a guy rights advocacy rights group. dustin, activist and award-winning screenwriter of the movie "milk." he's helped to lead the charge to overturn proposition 8. and jonathan capehart, opinion writer for "the washington post" and an msnbc contributor. let me thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thanks, rev. >> richard, what does this mean for same-sex marriage? are you hopeful about how the supreme court will decide?
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>> he will >> well, i think it's a very important day. what they told us today is that they are ready to decide this issue. i know that, you know, this is a legal thing and only in supreme court is it important when they tell you that they are ready to decide. it was a very significant moment. the supreme court said these are the cases that we will take and we are ready to decide this issue and because they are ready to decide this issue and because the arc of history is so clear, i'm optimistic that they will decide in favor of an expansive view for rights for all americans. >> dustin, do you share that optimism and are you more cautious and what happens if they decide yay on one and nay on the other? they took two shots at this. >> i don't think that's what is going to happen. it's very clear, especially after november 6th, and seeing four states vote in favor of marriage equality to see where the polls land today. the supreme court likes to be
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maybe two steps ahead, not ten. they certainly don't want to be behind the arc of history again when it comes to civil rights and the quality of this nag. they've seen that dark day and they don't want to see it again. this is a can that can't keep thinking. i think the american people want equality and not just in california. and not just state by state. i think we want to see a nation that's no longer a checkerboard nation. we want to see a nation where you're free and your family is protected no matter what state you live in. >> so if the court decides in favor of guy marriage, this will mean that the state by state is over. >> we don't know what the court is going to decide. >> right. >> but if the court rules in a broad sense in the proposition 8 case, it could mean that same-sex marriage had to be eventually legal everywhere. there are options for more
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limited rulings. for instance, if it just tackled the substantive issues, it would just mean that in the states where same-something marriage is already legal that the federal government had to recognize it. but what this court was saying today was that they were going to look at a range of options but they were going to look at all of these options on the merits and that they were going to fully consider what it means to be an american and what equality means for same-sex couple. so we are very optimistic that in june we will have a ruling. >> what is the difference between these two cases? what is the legal issue that differs between the two cases that the court will be looking at? >> well, the defense of marriage act is a federal statute which says that the federal government cannot recognize valid marriages in states that recognize same-sex marriages. and proposition 8 is a law, a california law which says that only marriages between heterosexuals are recognizable in california. so the issue presented by the
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california ed case, if it's decided broadly -- that's a big if -- could affect every state. what's good for california is good for all of the other 49 states. >> jonathan capehart, i heard both richard and dustin very optimistic. i was recently at the court and looked at that, of those nine as i listened to the argument on the affirmative action, a case heard about a month ago. when i look at that bench and i see judges there, do you think that they go with the arc of the future? i mean, we are talking about scalia and clarence thomas, some judges that could be scary. >> yes, they could be scary and they very well might be scary. but the key justice in all of this is going to be justice
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kennedy. he is the one who eloquently wrote in the texas case, saying that the dignity of guy men and lesbians should not be trampled upon by the federal government and it was that ruling that set off justice scalia who said in 2003 that because of what the majority wrote in that opinion, setting it up for legalization of same-sex marriage. what could happen here, the windsor versus the united states case, keep in mind, edith windsor is legally married. she was legally married in canada. she lives in new york for marriage equality where it's legal. her suit against the united states isn't asking to be legally married. it's to have the federal
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government recognize her legal marriage. >> right. >> vis-a-vis the internal revenue service. because when her partner of 42 years died, she owed $363,000 in federal estate taxes that she would not have to pay if her spouse had been a man. >> and that's a great point because she was legally married in canada, lived in a state that marriage equality is legal. so we're not asking in this case for them to affirm the marriage. it's just for them to affirm where she is legally married that the federal government has to respect that, rich around. >> yes, that's true. but i think that the big picture we want to emphasize today is that we are at the beginning of the end of this struggle perhaps. >> right. >> and that these cases are perhaps among the most historic that any of these justices will ever decide because they are defining right before our very eyes what it means to be an american, what rights do you have as an american and as you so eloquently said at the
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introduction to this segment, this is what we are about. in june we are going to hear from the supreme court what that means. >> well, this is huge. dustin, what we have seen is a shifting of public opinion. nine states with same-sex marriage already legal in iowa, vermont, massachusetts, connecticut, washington state, going to be legal in 2013 in maine and maryland and also washington, d.c. from late november, should same-sex marriage be recognized? in favor, 53%. opposed, 46%. on and on showing the shift in america. i know in 2003 when i first took a position, i get a much different reaction now than before. do you think this growth in public opinion towards marriage equality is also something that the court now says we're ready to deal with this?
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>> i think so. and i want to talk about why we are seeing that shift and one of the amazing things that happened in it is that the opposition to guy marriage had to come into court and to raise their right happened and to see under oath that some of them refuse to testify. some of them we approved it was junk science. one of the most notable things about the proposition 8 cases is that their one sole key witness opposing marriage equality has come to our side and did not end up in favor of guy marriage now. what happens when we tell our stories, when we share our stories who we really are? we dismiss those lies and stereotypes and i hope we get to do that again at the supreme court very soon. we change minds. people actually get to meet us and that's the power of the court. that's why it's so important
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that guy and lesbians use the courts to protect the oath to tell the full truth. >> and jonathan, young people -- i was startled at the numbers when polled, 18 to 29-year-olds, 63% supported. about two-thirds. and 35% oppose it. and i think that says a lot, jonathan. >> right. that means that for young people, the people who follow us, this is not a big deal. they are sitting talking to their friends wondering why the grownups cannot get with it and see that this is al no-brainer. this is a civil rights issue that same-sex couples should have every right and responsibility that comes with marriage but should also have the dignity and acceptance that comes with that as well. >> well, we'll be watching this. this is historic and let's not forget those that paid a price to bring this to this point and all three of you have been in
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that movement and certainly harvey milk, because of you, dustin, should be remembered today. >> thank you for all of your time tonight. i hope to have you back on the show as we develop this. coming up, new signs president obama's winning the tax fight. news today could strengthen his hand against speaker boehner. plus, karl rove hasn't learned a thing is since its infamous air meltdown. why is he questioning polls again? and a very special guest is here with me tonight. we have a gold medal winner onset. gabby douglas live in the studio. her story of sacrifice inspired a country. you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc. initiated.
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have you joined the "politicsnation" conversation on facebook yet? we hope you will. today our fans were buzzing over the newly released photo of the president on the phone with mitt romney as he conceded to him on election night. he have len says, the president was probably so glad it was over so that he could get back to working for our country. david says, he must have been elated and relieved. linda says, i know how he felt. so happy. we want to hear your thoughts on this picture. and any other story you are interested in. please head over to facebook and search "politicsnation" and "like" us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends. smoothes, lifts, defies? red jars are all the same right?
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republicans woke up to this, the jobless rate is at the lowest rate since 2008. when president obama took office, we were in a job freefall. but now 36 months of straight job growth and five million new jobs in the president's first term. that includes the news today, 146,000 new jobs. it's good news for the economy and good news for the president.
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president obama's approval rating is at a three-year rate. 53%. and 53% say they trust president obama to avoid the fiscal cliff. compared to just 36% who trust republicans in congress. also today speaker boehner said he wouldn't rule out an agreement to raise taxes as part of a fiscal cliff deal. but he also said there's no progress. this is what winning looks like. joining me now, e.j. dionne and thank you both for your time. senator solis, the jobless rate is at a four-year low.
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that's quite an achievement. >> yes, reverend re. but we still need to do more. in sectors like retail and health care and tourism and hospitality. we need to do more because people are still suffering. we've got to put jobs back in infrastructure and construction and put our teachers. that's why the president is working so hard so we don't go off the fiscal cliff so we keep the most vulnerable people out of harm's way. to pay $2,200. we've got to talk about fairness here and i'm very excited that the public is listening to the message that the president has made very, very clear. >> 146,000 new private sector jobs last month but one of the things that you talk about is the public sector.
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the president has proposed about $50 billion in infrastructure jobs which would be the public sector which is where a lot of the most hit communities, minorities and others are mostly working in and that's the public sector jobs, not the private sector. that's why this is important, secretary solis? >> absolutely. i think what we need to be mindful of also is many people are going to lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year, close to two million. if we don't continue that assistance to them, you're also going to see another hit. we can go right back into the recession because keep in mind, every $1 that benefits the economy generates 2 additional dollars that is out there helps the mom and pop stores to pay for whatever is necessary. we have to move forward. i think that the public has a responsibility to contact their members of congress and senate to say that they want to see
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something that is not held hostage to what the republicans would like to see. >> e.j., let's talk about the fiscal cliff negotiations and the politics of it. how do these numbers effect, if you feel it effects at all the ongoing negotiations? >> first, for the unemployment we would have heard that obama cooked the preelection numbers. and and, second, i'm glad that secretary solis said we don't need more push, particularly
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benefiting the unemployment and that's got to be part of the fiscal cliff negotiations that. is something that the republicans have to deal with. and i think the republicans and making sure that the debt ceiling is extended for a long time because the one thing that could hurt the economy even more than going off some curb or cliff or slope is if we had a rep tilgs of the debt ceiling battle that we had in 2011. >> so in your view right now, you think that we're past -- potentially past the tax reform question? it's about not the stimulus
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money but the debt ceiling negotiation and it's important because many communities are not impacted by private sector job growth and need the public sector jobs that the stimulus would bring. >> yes. i think that, you know, you can't declare something done until it's done. but i think all of the signals you're getting from the republicans is that they realize that the last thing they need to be doing right now is to look like they are holding up middle class tax cuts to protect tax cuts for the very wealthy. that's not where they want to be and somewhere deep inside they know that. >> secretary solis, no matter who they voted for, americans are clearly saying that they want compromise and even if it means accepting policies they don't necessarily agree with. 59% of obama voters want compromise. 54% of romney voters want come pro-might. you've told people they should call their congressman and
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senators. >> yes. >> should they tell them, let's act like adults and work this out? >> absolutely. and what is really most important is that the public has spoken. we just got through an election and now is the time for people to come together. the president has extended an olive branch. he continues to do that and all of us are working day and night until we get there. i know it's in the best interest of our economy and the world. everyone is looking to the united states for leadership and this president has exerted so much leadership, we need to continue that. it's not one party benefiting over another. it's for all americans to benefit for our economy to repair itself and for us to get on with taking care of the people that we represent. >> now, john boehner, e.j., some reports say he's been receiving a lot of is support from his caucus. others are saying that some of those are still holding a lot of strength and they've got to
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watch their back that they are not undermined and given candidates in primaries against them as they go forward. what is the state of the republican party and how will that impact these discussions? >> well, i think two things are true at the same time. the tea party conservatives haven't gone away. some of them lost but most of them got re-elected and so they are going to put pressure on boehner. the talk show host, particularly rush limbaugh, are going to be out there talking negatively about boehner if he makes a deal. but i think the different between now and last year is the intervening election as you said at the beginning of this segment and a lot of republicans know this is a different world. they can't repeat the same strategy that they repeated the last time and they seem to be making a lot more room to negotiate a deal than president obama than anything they were letting him do in 2011. so i think he does have some
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room to make a deal but he's got to throw out all of this resistance for a while and say i'm fighting hard in order to appease some on the right. >> at the same time, secretary solis, you said i hope that they can come to terms by christmas so the people can can feel free and go buy their christmas gift and show consumer confidence? >> right. and that's absolutely right. we saw it in the last jobs report. people in the retail industry, we were able to create more jobs there. also with tourism and hospitality. there is disposable income that people are feeling good about spending. we need to keep that momentum going. and also make sure that the infrastructure bill gets through but also making sure that the top 2% of those big wage earners that make millions of dollars pay their due so we can help
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provide relief to everyone. lord knows that we've seen the middle class suffer through this economy for a couple of years now. and i would lastly say to you that's what really is important for people to understand is that the senate and the house has changed dramatically. when we come back in january, you're going to see new members of the senate and many are progressive and care about the middle class and i think you're going to see a different dynamic. it's very important that the public understand that. >> secretary solis and e.j. dionne, thank you. have a great weekend. >> you, too. thanks. coming up, just in, republicans are trying to fire john boehner. he's leading their talks with the president but they want him out. we'll have that story. and how about this, a gold medal winner heads to "politicsnation." gabby douglas is here to share her story. you won't want to miss this one.
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need another seen that the gop really didn't learn its lesson on election night? tea party hero senator jim demint is off to run a think tank. let's see what parts he'll be imparting. on economic policy, he believes the stimulus was a mugging, a fraud. his wisdom on human rights, guys shouldn't be allowed to teach. and gender studies, let's just say he was one of the first to stand with todd akin after his legitimate rape comments and it turns out that the party didn't even have a clue even though they pretended to. >> the party which you acknowledged which erupted last week was todd akin's comments which, unfortunately, have made him unelectable. >> he's unelectable, said senator cornyn.
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only today we learned that the senator's committee quietly gave mr. akin $760,000 to boost his campaign. and then there's mr. on air meltdown rove. >> do you believe that ohio has been settled? >> no, i don't. >> so you're not saying that obama isn't going to win, you're just -- >> i think this is premature. i don't know what the outcome is going to be but we've got to be careful about calling things when you have 991 votes separating the two candidates. >> the polls were wrong, then, and he thinks that they are wrong now. in a new wall street op-ed, refuse the bleep want to tax the wealthy. how did that work out last time? it looks like the lot of boys are still lost. joining me now is bob shrum and
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alicia menendez, host and producer for huff post live. bob, what will it take for the party to learn the lessons of this election? >> they've got to get past the immediate crisis in terms of the fiscal cliff. no matter what is true, no matter what he says, john boehner is going to have to sound like he's resistant and putting up a fight but at the end of the day he's going to have to make a deal that is going to go by those term. and then we're going to go on to the debt ceiling and if the republican party in the house crashes this economy and crashes the markets by refusing to extend the debt ceiling, the business community is going to go nuts. and, b, this will become the party of recession, tax rates for the top, hating social security, and hating medicare. that's a recipe for long-term
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political irrelevance. >> now, alicia, let me give you a news flash that came in. conservative blogger erick erickson is up with a petition to have john boehner fired. it says, quote, speaker boehner is undercutting conservative principles by putting forth a liberal compromise of raising taxes or closing loopholes on our nation's job creators. coupled with only $600 billion in spending cuts. this will hardly put a dent in our national debt and will likely put america in recession. he's put a petition up. now, this comes on the heels of rush limbaugh saying that the gop has given in on the tax issue. take a listen. >> the republicans are just giving in. they have compromised, what have you, on the premise that raising
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taxes on the rich will fix the problem. it was weak. the republicans have conceded the language. >> now, limbaugh going out, million of people listening to him and now this petition by erickson, does this put a lot of pressure on some of the people in boehner's caucus to be more difficult, let's say, for him handle than it would have been? >> i don't know that it could be any more difficult to handle than it may have already been. listen, this started when he kicked four members of their caucus out of their leadership positions on important finance committees. even then, he wouldn't have taken them out of leadership if he didn't think that he could keep his caucus in place. he knows that he's balancing competing interest. yes, there is this tea party
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component of the caucus. also, there are a lot of conservatives who got the memo and want to be able to compromise with the white house. he's trying to keep them both happy at the same time. disarray on the caucus is bad for the caucus. >> i don't know that they are going to throw him out but, bob, can they put enough pressure to make it more difficult which makes him take positions that are harder to arrive at a compromise with trying to move the country forward? >> sure. and wrote about it in the daily beast and you and i wrote about it month ago, there's a civil war waging. it's going to get worse and worse. the question is whether they want to go through the political cliff on this and the debt ceiling. first of all, the top tax rates are going up. it's going to happen on january 1st. let's say they don't make a deal. the president comes back and says, okay, i propose to cut tacks for the middle class. they are going to vote against that? they are going to be the party
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of higher tacks for the middle class? and then they are going to say -- and i can't believe this is the essence of their position -- we might make a deal with you if you really cut medicare deeply. that was senator bob corker's message. what kind of political positioning is this and there was an election and obama and senator demint was on fox and more power in the senate than he did in. now watch this. >> this is a dream job for me. it critically important. i don't think republicans are going to win another national election until they first convince americans that our principles work. i think i'm in a more powerful position than a single united states senator. >> being in the minority is no fun but that's a pretty pathetic
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statement about what it means to be in the minority. the thing that bugs me about demint choosing to do this is immigration is going to be one of the first things that the senate tackles this year. he was a big player in 2007 pushing against bush effort for bipartisan reform. he was taking about building a 700-mile long wall along our south border. i'm not certain why he would choose this moment. >> have a great weekend. >> you, too. she jumped in our hearts at the london games and now she's writing all about it on how she got there. gold medal winner gabby douglas is here. she might even tell us about her meeting with president obama. americans believe they should be in charge of their own future.
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what a year it's been for
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olympic gold medalist gabrielle douglas. she vaulted into our hearts and she's the first african-american woman ever to win a gold medal in the olympics and also the first u.s. gymnast ever to receive the individual all-around gold and team gold medals. but her path to superstardom wasn't always smooth. she's had to deal with homelessen, racism, and bullying while fighting to achieve her dream. now she shares her incredible dream in a book entitled "grace, gold & glory." it's a pleasure to welcome gabrielle and her mother to "politicsnation." >> thank you for having us.
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>> you know you won all of the world's hearts four months ago. i want to ask you, what was going through your head when you won that night. everyone was watching but what were you thinking about? >> i was thinking about all of the sacrifices me and my family put into this and it was all worth it just overcoming injuries and being homeless at one point and all of the struggles that we faced. i was thinking it was so worth it and the glory goes up to god because he has given me this amazing talent to represent him and at the same time, too, so a lot of emotions were going -- i was happy, i was crying and just thinking about -- just being a blessing of the people because they have given me so much so, yeah. i was very excited just being on the podium. >> now, gabrielle, i read through your book and you talk about your mother had to bring you by herself, you had to go through a lot of things that i grew up in a single parent home on welfare.
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my mother just passed. and the story that you tell of the determination your mother had, i think it will strengthen a lot of people and that you didn't have an easy path. you almost gave up before going to the games. tell us about that. >> yeah. one day my mom was driving me to the gym and i typed up a text message for her -- >> why did you type up the message? >> my mom was a visual lie zags person and she likes to process it in her head so i did that and it basically said that i don't have the passion for gymnastics anymore and i want to join track and field and work at a restaurant. i gave her the message and she was heartbroken. she didn't want me to come home as a quitter and watch the olympics from a tv screen and regret that i wish i would have been there but i was very homesick. they came to iowa for christmas and -- >> that's where you were training? >> iowa is where i'm training.
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and it was all said and done, christmas was over, they were packing up and going back to virginia and i wanted to go with them and i wanted to quit and give up the sport because i was very homesick. >> now, natalie, your daughter, she worked hard, had this dream, and you struggled, went through all kinds of stuff to help get her where she could have a shot at this dream. yet it had to hurt you that she was away from home. what gave you the strength to keep pushing her. >> i knew she had a love and passion for the sport and i knew she had a dream. so the days that i would go through where i felt like my heart was breaking, i would think, she's doing what she loves and something that was important to me was to help each one of my children, you know, accomplish their dreams and to nurture their ambitions. you know, it was hard but i knew that that was where she wanted
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to be and i couldn't be selfish. hi to let her go and let her give it everything she had. >> great athletes, gabrielle, have to go past their experiences, pain, passion and you right a lot of pain about your father. i went through that in my life and i'm a couple years older than you and still dealing with it. tell us about that. >> yeah. i wrote about him in the book and our relationship is not very good right now. it's kind of distant. and he was just basically wasn't there for me. i mean, he wasn't in the picture. so i hope when he takes from the book he'll get how i felt and we can build a stronger and better relationship in the future. >> what do you hope people would walk away from the book? you set with these gold medals in front of you, assured that your spot in history known all
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over the world. but what do you hope that somebody who reads this book "grace, gold & glory glory" by gabrielle, what do you hope that they take away from it? >> if you're going through struggles and difficulties, i want them to know that you can still achieve your dreams and i want to relate to everyone out there and tell them no matter what nationality you are or how much money you have, if you trust and believe yourself 100%, you can get there. >> what was the key to you winning? you went through bullying and all kinds of different things at a very young age. how did you keep focus? what kept you on the straight and narrow in. >> i think that was my vote vagvag motivation or money was tight at one point and overcoming injuries i think that was my motivation, was to accomplish my
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dream and tell emp you really can do it and i wanted to go to london and inspire young girls or everyone, just to tell them that i went through a lot of struggles. it wasn't easy. it was hard. and i want them to know that you can still achieve your dreams. >> natalie, i said to her -- i raised the question, what was going through her head. but all of the praying and struggling you went through, what were you thinking about when you were in london and saw your daughter literally walk into history? >> i was elated, of course. but what's going through my head, again, kind of like what she said. it was all of the years of struggling, all of the years of wondering how we were going to make it, not being able to be there when she was away and she was going through an injury and i couldn't be there to help nurse her through it. and so i just thought at that moment it was all worth it because when we were going through it it didn't seem worth it and there was no guarantee that anything would pay off. but in that moment i just -- i was in awe, you know. >> another product of a single
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parent home, you met the president of the united states, president obama. tell us about how you felt on that occasion. >> oh, he is a very nice man and he's just so down to earth. i remember we all walked into the oval office and we were just like standing like this and he was like, no, just stand -- you don't have to stand like that. we were like, okay, and we just started talking to him. he gave us presidential m and ms and it was fun. we got to visit the bakery shop and flower shop. it's such a fun experience. >> now, i understand you like reading, you like studying. what do you do other than gymnastics? what are your interests? >> just relaxing and chilling out because i'm in the gym 24/7 and when i'm in the gym it's like really high intensity workout so when i come home i just want to relax and chill out. >> really? >> yeah. >> so is she obsessed with the
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gym? is she a normal child outside of the gym? >> she's a normal child but she still does gymnastics. she's always trying to do a cartwheel or jump on something. i don't think that will ever change. but she's a normal kid for the most part. let me take a break. is there another olympics in gabby's future? stay with us. we'll be right back. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ]
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excuse me. gabrielle and i were doing cartwheels during the break. everyone wants to know, are you going for the second gold in 2016? >> definitely. i hope to make the gymnastics team and go to rio and i think it will be fun to attend two olympic games and i'm he can cited to get back into training and learning new skills and
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getting a whole new difference floor routine and just going to more international assignments or world more championships. >> so where you go as 2016, where do you ultimately want to go in life? what is your goal after all of the gold medals and stuff like that? >> i really want to be an actress. >> really? >> yes. >> what type of actress? who do you admire, by the way, in the acting field? >> i admire them all. >> you're a good politician, too. you admire them all. get them all on your side. make them buy you a book. >> do you feel that you now in your new celebrity do you feel that responsibility? >> definitely. they all look up to me and i get tweets saying, she got started because of you. even guys say,ot